Lost for Words
The Hidden History of the Oxford English Dictionary annotated edition
By (author) Lynda Mugglestone
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Lost for Words by Lynda Mugglestone
Book DescriptionThe Oxford English Dictionary (OED) holds a cherished position in English literary culture. The story behind the creation of what is indisputably the greatest dictionary in the language has become a popular fascination. This book looks at the history of the great first edition of 1928, and at the men (and occasionally women) who distilled words and usages from centuries of English writing and "through an act of intellectual alchemy captured the spirit of a civilization." The task of the dictionary was to bear full and impartial witness to the language it recorded. But behind the immaculate typography of the finished text, the proofs tell a very different story. This vast archive, unexamined until now, reveals the arguments and controversies over meanings, definitions, and pronunciation, and which words and senses were acceptable--and which were not. Lost for Words examines the hidden history by which the great dictionary came into being, tracing--through letters and archives--the personal battles involved in charting a constantly changing language. Then as now, lexicographers reveal themselves vulnerable to the prejudices of their own linguistic preferences and to the influence of contemporary social history.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780300106992
(234mm x 156mm x 30mm)
Imprint: Yale University Press
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publish Date: 11-Mar-2005
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Lynda Mugglestone
Samuel Johnson and the Journey into Words, Hardback (August 2015)
This book looks at the range of Johnson's writings on, and the complexity of his thinking about, language and lexicography. It casts new light on Johnson's life in language provides a convincing reassessment of his impact on English culture, the making of dictionaries, and their role in a nation's identity.
Oxford History of English, Paperback (November 2012)
Lynda Mugglestone's hugely popular The Oxford History of English is republished in a reset and revised edition featuring David Crystal's new take on the future of English. With impeccable and approachable scholarship, it describes the changing sounds, words, and meanings of English. A book for everyone interested in the language.
Samuel Johnson, Hardback (November 2012)
This book offers wide-ranging coverage of Samuel Johnson's life, work, and reception across fifteen thematically cohesive chapters. Taking as its point of departure William Hazlitt's famous comparison between Johnson's prose style and a pendulum, this volume will contest and rebalance the metaphor of the pendulum.
Dictionaries: A Very Short Introduction, Paperback (August 2011)» View all books by Lynda Mugglestone
Dictionaries are far more than works which list the words and meanings of a language. In this Very Short Introduction Lynda Mugglestone takes a look at how dictionaries are made, considering how they reflect the dominant social and cultural assumptions of the time in which they were written.
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Author Biography - Lynda Mugglestone
Lynda Mugglestone is fellow in English at Pembroke College, Oxford. She is the author of Talking Proper: The Rise of Accent of Social Symbol (2nd ed, 2003), and has published widely on nineteenth-century language and literature. She broadcasts regularly in the UK.
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